First off, there's an Irish competition run by Penguin and RTE. Details are on novelist Louise Phillips' site here:
The top 60 or so writers get to have a day at a seminar-type thing, with some great talks from industry peeps and published scribes.
Details of another free to enter contest below.
A story appeared in the Best New Writing 2012 anthology.
You can submit a story for potential publication in the annually published book from the site, and you're also in the running for a grand prize, the Eric Hoffer Award.
Here are some of the beauties of this contest in a six point list:
(a) it's free to enter
(b) your work may get acknowledged in some form - if it progesses beyond what the judges regard as the top 20 percent or so of all entries
(c) if you're lucky enough to get through first round judging processes, it is likely to be edited by people who know what they're doing. (For the record, of course it's likely to be looked at by similar people BEFORE that - but at this stage you'll get feedback.)
(d) the story may then be published in a wonderfully produced buke
(e) you can (usually) submit a story every quarter or so
(f) your story is in the running for an impressive cash prize
I'm not happy about competitions with an entry fee, where there is a chance of winning a prize, but a more likely chance of publication.
For example, if there is a first, a second and a third prize in a contest - and the top ten are published - you have a shortlist of seven who didn't get a prize and who paid an entry fee. I think it only fair that in that scenario, the contest organisers at least return the entry fee to the shortlisted seven who didn't get a prize. You don't want to be paying $10 or €7 for the privilege of being published, regardless of the competition's prestige.
Why? Because your story might just do better in another competition. Most short story contests insist that the entries you send in are previously unpublished. So your fiction - once it IS published - is ruled out of contention elsewhere. Your fiction is being punished for being one of the better entries in a contest.
While the Best New Writing publications are prestigious enough to charge an entry fee, they don't. I'm surprised they don't. Submission for the Eric Hoffer Award is free, and you can enter a story every quarter. For the opportunity of an edit and some great feedback on your fiction, alongside the chance of a cash prize, you can't go far wrong. Inclusion in the anthology is certainly more than fair, I feel - given that you can submit your work for free.
So I encourage people to give the contest a go or to buy one of the anthologies. There are some terrific stories in the collections that result from the competition.
I'll post the story over the next few days.
Read the story that featured in the 2012 collection below when it goes live:
The Whipping Boy